Archive for the ‘dead languages’ Category

Today’s rec is The Epic of Gilgamesh!

(There really should be a Wiki version in Akkadian. It’d edit that)

Anyway, because for me, the  joys I associate with reading Gilgamesh consisted mostly of:

1) trudging to and fro in the library with any and all of the twenty volumes of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary in my hands, on my back, in my pockets(1), and carefully balanced on my head,  and with Borger’s Assyrisch-Babylonische Zeichenliste dangling precariously in the steely yet loving embrace of my upper and lower jaw(2),

(Um. Please disregard the disturbing mental image)

2)finding stuff to fit into the lacunae in the original tablet,

3)crowing triumphantly for no reason at all,

4)consuming copious amounts of coffee,

it would be, I think, a good idea to just let a sane person speak his mind: here, PZ Myers on the awesomeness that is the Epic of Gilgamesh.

This is one of my favourite  Pharyngula post ever, by the way.

(1) Haha, NO.

(2) thank Darwin for pdf files! EVOLUTION! SYMBIOSIS!

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1. YES I CAN HAS THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH FINALLY.

My book-sniffing skills turned out to be awesome after all(1)! I haven’t got the time today, so I’ve only read about 60 pages so far, but! Awesome!

I liked: the stuff about ultra-violet and primroses, and how Dawkins emphasises that creationism has a lot to do with complete and utter ignorance.

2. The “poor expats who can’t get used to live in their cruelly culturally different host country” meme is as robust as ever, but what about the ex-expats? I’m concerned!

This is because I spent 30 minutes being lost, because I forgot that “the first floor” means actually “second floor”. Or at least it would, if I were still in Japan.

Note to self: first floor is second, the real first floor is zero. Must concentrate moar.

Fail!

3. I have discovered the most ridiculous meme ever. How could I miss it before, I asked myself today, looking stupidly at pictures that will remain undisclosed for a couple of days, as I will be collecting evidence in the library.

Hint: fish and funny hats are involved.

Also, chariots.

(Well, a bit(2))

4. Apparently Claude Levi-Strauss died.

I… I have to say, I can’t really be upset, because until today I was sure he had died already.

So, in a way, when I went online, my worst fears were confirmed :( Thank you for fun times with Tristes Tropiques, Claude, and inspiring one of my favourite profs when he was young.

5. I have to confess: I’ve been having the urge to look for moar vaccine-deniers on the intertubes all the time lately(3). I’ll start posting when my hands will stop obeying me and continue typing on their own even when I sleep. SLEEEEP!

6. For all internet troll aficionados, a tragic news indeed: Tom Estes, the voluble pastor of the Hard Truth fame (?), seems to have deleted himself from the interwebs. I, for one, will be inconsolable for weeks to come, and I haven’t even broken the news to Dan yet :\ The last googlable post (a bit stale).  Google Cache to the rescue: he flounced ’cause “I’m no longer all that intrigued by Pharytales, or Helga’s Battle-ax, or the NotSoFreeThinker, and I think the reason for the that is because they are so repetitive in nature.  Basically what they do everyday is criticize rational Christians, and for a while it made me angry, then I found it amusing, but now it’s just tired.”

Tom also warns his faithful readers that he’s got two other blogs here and here. Stay tuned! Once an attention whore, always an attention whore.

(You can also follow his rants on Twitter:

NY Times’ Dowd is a super feminist, UNLESS it’s Obama is the one excluding women, than it’s okay. #tcot http://s.nyt.com/u/Waf

I laughed!)

Anyway, RIP, Hard Truth!

 

(1) Throw some ink at me. I could probably tell which genre it came from.

(2) The other bit is that I like the word “chariot”. Chariot!

(3) Shooting fish in a barrel much? And yet!

1. Via a Camels with Hammers commenter:

John’s Scalzi’s trip to the Creation Pseumuseum + photos. The post includes delightful scatological imagery, such as this:

The guy who built the temple, satisfied that it truly represents his beloved load of horseshit in the best possible light, then opens the temple to the public, to attract not only the already-established horseshit enthusiasts, but possibly to entice new people to come and gaze on the horseshit, and to, well, who knows, admire its moundyness, or the way it piles just so, to nod in appreciation of the rationalizations for its excellence or to clap in delight and take pictures when an escaping swell of methane causes the load of horseshit to sigh a moist and pungent sigh.

Yes, please. I might have to pick up his books one day, after all.

Also, creationist commenters and their typically overblown dramatics:

274. John Scalzi on 13 Nov 2007 at 9:43 pm
Joe:

“Re: the Ark and Dinosaurs isn’t big a deal when you realize that the DInosaurs didn’t have to be full grown to be on the Ark.”

I’m sorry, I’m getting the giggles again, here.

275. Joe on 13 Nov 2007 at 9:54 pm
John, to think, my mom told me I wasn’t funny. I guess she was wrong. Put a gun to my head and tell me to renounced Christianity or you’d shoot me…Pull the trigger because I am not doing that. It isn’t because I am stubborn..trust me, I don’t like being shot at, it’s because I fear God, not man.

Heh heh. The evil Scalzi, shooting poor persecuted creationists in the head again. Which makes a little sense, after all, since it’s not like they use them all that much anyway. I bet he also had Christian-baby-porridge for breakfast!

(Commenter number 300 also claims that Scalzi is so mean, because he’s just like Ann Coulter, heh heh. Heh heh!)

(A few comments down, Joe also proudly announces that he 1) never met Pascal, 2) gambling’s not for him. I’d think TROLL TROLL TROLL, only Poe’s law)

Also, I’d like to maybe repeatedly emphasise that there are 101 photos. With captions. Go, now!

2. A truly bizarre article about the oppression of women in fundamentalist regimes. On the one hand, it raises several important points, on the other:

The use of women’s naked bodies to market commercial products in the West is merely another application of the idea that women are commodities. Anyone who visits the redlight district in Amsterdam can see for himself how wretched prostitutes, completely naked, are lined up behind glass windows so that passers-by can inspect their charms before agreeing on the price. Isn’t that a modern-day slave market, where women’s bodies are on sale to anyone willing to pay?

Yeah, right. Because being oppressed by men with political and religious power is just like deciding to be a sex-worker.

I’m not saying everything is legal and perfect in the blessed land of socialism and sexual permissiveness, and that there’s no human trafficking and that sort of stuff. It’s just that apples and oranges, dude.

What’s also quite disturbing is how women/feminists/activists who are supposedly against the sex industry and pornography for the sake of the women always end up blaming the sex-workers anyway, and not maybe suggesting the logical solution, which would be “so let’s convince people that paying for sex is uncool or something“. Because, seriously, demand and supply, dudes!

3. My Randroid special this week: how the Market (blessed be His name) works when nobody’s looking.

4. Twitter novel. The Japanese, of course, have been there first.

5. WTF is wrong with this dictionary? It should come with trigger warnings D:

6. Concordat Watch‘s got stuff on the creepiest of concordats out there. Like the one in Dominican Republic:

Back in 1954 the dictator, Trujillo, concluded a concordat with the Vatican which is still in force. On 11 July 2006 representatives of the Dominican Republic’s more than 1,600 Protestant churches filed an appeal against this concordat with the Dominican Supreme Court (SCJ). They claimed that it is unconstitutional. However, over two years later on 22 October 2008 the Supreme Court upheld the concordat. In its ruling it states that although the State assumes the obligation to teach the Catholic religion and moral education in elementary and secondary public schools, in no way prohibits that education by another religion in their establishments, nor has evidence been contributed that demonstrates that this has been prevented by virtue of what is agreed to in the Concordat.

No to mention the outrageous one in Cote d’Ivoire.

7. I’m reading MerodachBaladan‘s kudurru! Posts about Assyrian/Biblical propaganda coming soon, yay!

8. ALSO, I CAN HAS A LEXICAL LIST ZOMD. (They look like that, but mine is smaller and much harder on the eyes. Ow!)

Every field of study, no matter how completely unlikely, will have its fair share of woo, fringe “science” and wacky conspiracy theories.

This is an indisputable, scientific fact*.

This is, among other things, because for some people,

It says so right here! In this very old book! Therefore, it must be the truuuuth!

is a sufficient argument proving things that are otherwise impossible to prove, like the existence of giants, Huwawa, deluge, Ishtar, aliens, or fairies. For some people, the older the source text the better, and also, the bigger the chance that hardly anybody will be able to question the way they choose to interpret the super-old source text, which is an added bonus when you are crazy.

Therefore: many magic-practitioners and/or alien conspiracy theorists like to find obscure languages nobody knows and claim,

But it’s written RIGHT HEREEE!

(Only, it’s not)

However, sometimes a slight creative manipulation of written sources is required, and what results is even more craziness  (original spelling preserved):

The sumerian language is one of the oldest languages we know. This release contains only some common words, but the dictionary is ALWAYS under construction, because I will update it as often as I can. Future publications should contain more information about the language (spelling,grammar, …) and MORE words. Also thanX to THE ARRAY. The words of the first publication I have taken of his dictionary.

Ahahahaha. Gosh, that guy, s/h/it fails so much. Where do I even start?

Common sumerian words for magickal purposes

LOL. He’s serious, ’cause he spelled it “magick”. Just so you know.

Cut for self-indulgent linguistic geekery.

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